California is the trend-setter when it comes to regulations regarding the environment and, in particular, emissions. As a result, it has pushed electric vehicles and equipment. To help members understand what this means to their rental operations, the ARA of California offered “Electric Equipment Driving Rental Revenue” for its May lunchtime chat, the last in a series of monthly online education offerings that began as a way to connect everyone throughout the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“We are seeing a trend for more electric vehicles and machines in California, and we wanted to make sure our members were aware of the future of construction equipment in the state. The push for less emissions and a cleaner environment means more pressure is on manufacturers to come out with alternatives to how we operate and the types of equipment we offer to customers,” says Alberto Pianelli, general manager, F & B Rentals, Santa Ana, Calif., and ARA of California president.
Featured presenter was Jason White, The Toro Co., who addressed electric equipment options that can benefit one’s fleet, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and how its regulations can impact a rental operation, as well as how rental operators can receive grants for electric equipment.
Tim Heer, education/training manager, A Tool Shed, Santa Cruz, Calif., wanted to attend to gain clarification.
“Being in the central coast of California, we are heavily regulated by the Air Resources Board. Internal combustion engines are becoming a thing of the past it seems. We are seeing more and more machines and equipment migrating to either all-electric or battery-powered, ranging from loaders to excavators to lawn and garden equipment. I wanted clarification on some options for excavators. Mostly it was interest in educating myself on mitigating our expenses incurred via the California EPA,” he says.
The session, he says, was well worth his time.
“I learned about the ability for these new machines to perform on par with internal combustion engines for their limited use. We are interested in expanding the line and the market we currently have. What we have is marketed more toward lawn and garden. We are trying out the electric skid steer and interested in trying out an electric excavator. Others in the industry have had positive results with electric excavators. Where we are there is a lot of construction that takes place inside existing structures — where businesses are being replaced or going through upgrades where small machines like this that can work inside would be beneficial to the contractor,” he says.
He also learned more about CARB’s grant program. “It sounds beneficial. We will need to examine that. Possibly getting grants — kind of the same thing they were doing with solar panels,” he says.
Letting rental operators know about these grants was important, Pianelli says.
“CARB controls the rulemaking on emissions in the state. What some people may not know is that although CARB regulates, it also incentivizes companies to be proactive through grants. We hoped to show some opportunity for companies to take advantage of grants to purchase new machines through the CARB program. Manufacturers are investing more and more into all-electric and alternative fuels,” he says.
Heer, who has attended several of the lunchtime chats, says he’s glad he sat in on this presentation. He also appreciates all the information that has been shared throughout the series.
“Those behind the ARA of California’s lunchtime chats have put a lot of thought into the subject matter and have found good people in the industry — those who are knowledgeable on the subject and eager to share that information to the rest of the community. The dissemination of information has been valuable. The subject matter has been relevant, and the speakers have been knowledgeable with their subjects. These sessions have definitely been well worth my time,” he says.